December 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to SSAIC’s December 2021 Newsletter. Once a month, we bring you news, updates, skills, and opportunities relating to the world of sexualized violence. As subscribers, you won’t miss a beat about what’s happening at SSAIC.

COVID-19 Updates

SSAIC is open! We are currently serving clients of sexualized violence over Zoom and telephone only and providing public education virtually. In order to keep our staff and clients safe, we will continue to operate under the current restrictions:

  • Masking
  • Physically distancing
  • Sanitization & temperature protocols
  • Primarily utilizing telephone and Zoom counselling
  • Keeping our main office closed to the public

The majority of our counselling will continue to be provided over Zoom or telephone unless we assess that clients can not access service using that technology, or require some initial face-to-face support. SSAIC will remain closed to walk-in support at this time.

We are taking new clients and would encourage those who need our assistance to call our office during office hours and speak to one of our counsellors. Our 24-hour crisis line is fully functional and available to assist anyone who needs our help.

We have expanded our services to include more online resources for survivors. Please check out our Survivors Toolkit for additional resources and videos.

What’s New at SSAIC

Holiday Greetings!

We would like to wish you and your loved ones a warm and wonderful holiday season!

Our office will be closing at noon on December 23rd and will re-open January 4th at 9 a.m.

If you are looking for support outside of office hours, please do not hesitate to call our 24-hour crisis line.

I’m the Boss of Me!

We are so excited that our new season of “I’m the Boss of Me” is about to begin!

“ITBOM” is SSAIC’s child sexual abuse education program for Grade 4 students that runs annually between January and March. Our puppet show tells the story of four friends, two of whom have experienced sexual abuse, as they learn that sexual abuse is not their fault, that it should never be kept a secret, and that there are people who will believe children and provide help and support.

Thank-you so much to every teacher, administrator, and school counsellor that has adapted with us; all of our hard work ensures that the students learn that abuse is never their fault!

And a huge thank-you to all of our volunteer facilitators!

Learn more about “I’m the Boss of Me” at SSAIC.ca/ITBOM.

Holiday Giving Campaign

The holidays are a time for giving! Please be sure to get your donations in before 2022 to contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign.

Please continue sharing our social media posts this holiday season (and beyond) to raise awareness about the issue of sexualized violence. We are so grateful for your support!

National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women (December 6th)

It has been 32 years since the murder of 14 young women at Polytechnique Montréal (December 6th, 1989). As Canada mourns their loss and remembers their lives, we reaffirm our commitment to fight the hatred that led to this tragedy and the misogyny that still exists today.

We remember:

  • Geneviève Bergeron
  • Hélène Colgan
  • Nathalie Croteau
  • Barbara Daigneault
  • Anne-Marie Edward
  • Maud Haviernick
  • Maryse Laganière
  • Maryse Leclair
  • Anne-Marie Lemay
  • Sonia Pelletier
  • Michèle Richard
  • Annie St-Arneault
  • Annie Turcotte
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Holiday Survival Tips from SSAIC

  • Keep your regular routine: A change in routine can lead to additional stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, and stick to a sense of normalcy and comfort.
  • Reinforce boundaries: Maintain your boundaries throughout the holiday season and know your own limitations. Don’t do something just because it’s tradition. Listen to your feelings.
  • Practice saying no: It’s okay to say no when you’re asked to do more than you are able. It’s okay to say no to some invitations and okay to say no to those asking for favours. Remember, this is your holiday, too!
  • Be good to yourself: If you’re feeling blue, practice self-care. Do what feels good, and what YOU want to do. Whether you need rest, productivity, or socialization, honour your needs this season.
  • Ask for help: The holidays can be a challenging time for many of us, especially throughout a pandemic. From Zoom dates to help with grocery shopping, it’s okay to ask for what you need.

Give yourself the gift of self-compassion and authenticity this holiday season: Set Boundaries!

For many of us, breaking our people-pleasing patterns can be very challenging, but when we fail to set boundaries, we might prioritize other people’s comfort above our own needs. Think of boundary-setting as a courageous act of putting yourself first.

It’s not mean or unkind to stand up for yourself or tell someone what you need. It’s actually the most truthful and authentic way to interact with others!

Here are some examples of holiday boundary-setting:

  • It’s a ton of work to prepare all the food, mingle with guests, and then do all the cleanup myself. I need someone to take over cleanup this year.
  • I get very overwhelmed by the non-stop festivities over Christmas, so I’m going to be sure to take some time to myself when we’re staying with you over the holidays. I need at least one day where I can be alone to rest and recharge.
  • I feel very uncomfortable discussing politics or other controversial topics at the dinner table because it creates an atmosphere of tension. Let’s change the subject to something a little more upbeat.
  • I know that Aunt Edith and I have very different views about Covid-19 measures and we’ll both be at your party. I just want to give you the heads up that if anything makes me feel really uncomfortable, I’ll discreetly leave. Thank you so much, again, for hosting!

Learning & Entertainment

Online Learning Workshop Series

SSAIC’s Online Learning Workshop Series are updated each season with new and exciting webinars related to sexualized violence. Our webinars are aimed at any and everyone from professionals to the general public with a thirst to learn. Join us live through Zoom or register and watch later.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Survivors (watch now!)

COVID-19 has had unprecedented impacts on the whole world, but how has it impacted survivors of sexualized violence specifically? This webinar is presented by Morgan Price, Education & Outreach Coordinator and Megan Sawyer, SSAIC’s Client Services Coordinator and counsellor to survivors. Watch the recording of our presentation below. Click here to make a donation.

Supporting Survivors of Sexualized Violence Training

Supporting Survivors of Sexualized Violence Training (SST) is an interactive training program created by SSAIC, designed to train anyone and everyone to receive disclosures and support survivors in a compassionate and trauma-informed way.

Join us for an upcoming session of SST to learn tangible skills for supporting someone who discloses sexualized violence, as well as the impacts of rape culture and our own unconscious biases.

Click on any of the following links to register yourself for SST:

Full Day Training ($150):

March 10th, 2022 (9am – 4pm)

Half Day Training ($60):

January 20th, 2022 (1:30pm – 4:30pm)

SSAIC Staff Recommends

Brené Brown – Listening to Shame (TED Talk)Sarah

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behaviour. Brené Brown explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humour, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys was such a lovely and refreshing read. Gifted to me by a colleague, I thought, “How interesting could the ‘Girl on Fire’ be?” I was so glad I opened “More Myself” – it turned out that Alicia is one of the most interesting artists of our time. I highly recommend her story for an uplifting journey to becoming the empowered and enlightened woman that Alicia now is. – Morgan

Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo, edited by Sue Goyette

This collection of poetry from writers across Canada was inspired by the events leading up to and surrounding the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi in 2016. At that time, Halifax poet and novelist Sue Goyette organized a gathering for whoever needed the comfort of company; some chose to speak of their own experiences of sexual assault while others listened. “The trauma, violence, and wounds of those experiences were exported from silence and individual bodies into a space that held the pain collectively.” This anthology of poems serves as an extension to that kind of space and challenges the reader to recognize how common and destructive rape culture and the patriarchy are. – Jen

Sexualized Violence in the News

1 in 3 youth suffer dating violence; parents need to talk about it, Global News

Parents across Canada talk to their teens about alcohol, drugs and smoking – but another health concern should be added to the list: dating violence.

“It’s as common as substance use and we know parents talk about that,” said Deinera Exner-Cortens, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary and scientific co-director of PREVNet, a network of Canadian researchers working to promote healthy relationships and eliminate violence.

Statistics from a 2017/18 survey showed that in the past year, 12% of youth were physically hurt on purpose by someone they were dating, another 28% reported emotional abuse and 18% said a dating partner used social media to hurt, embarrass or monitor them.

Dating is a critical developmental stage and teaching youth how to navigate conflict and jealousy will set the stage for future relationships. “Those early patterns and those early boundaries and learnings in relationships are critically important for how adolescents grow up in to adult relationships,” said Kim Ruse, CEO of Calgary’s Women’s Emergency Shelter. “Youth who suffered dating violence were much more likely to experience intimate partner violence up to 12 years later. Read more…

Click here for SSAIC’s guide to help you feel more confident addressing issues related to sexual violence, “Sexual Violence Prevention and Intervention for Youth: A Guide for Teachers, Caregivers & Support Workers.”

St. FX adopts new online platform for reporting sexual violence on campus, CBC News

Students and staff at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, will now have more ways to report on-campus sexual violence. Soon, they will be able to access a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week online reporting and information platform called REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) designed by a Canadian tech company called REES Technology Group Inc and launched last year.

Mary Lobson, founder and CEO of REES Technology Group Inc. has been involved in the gender-based violence field for 30 years. “While other violent crimes have gone down, sexual violence hasn’t… [and] we know that only about five percent of people actually report to police. We really wanted to reduce barriers to reporting by creating increased pathways for people to report.”

The online platform allows students and faculty to share their experiences with sexual violence via the website, where they can remain anonymous if they choose. Once logged in, users can share as much or as little information as they feel comfortable, by responding to multiple-choice questions. They can use the site like a diary to write out incidents but only send when (if) they’re ready, file an anonymous report, connect to resources on campus, or even file a police report.

There is also something called the “repeat perpetrator feature,” which allows St. FX to store encrypted data about those who have been reported multiple times to REES for on-campus sexual violence. The data also provides good insight into particular events or times of the year that may be problematic.

REES has partnered with 11 post-secondaries so far, in Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario. Read more…

Women push for change in the workplace in Saskatchewan, Global News

After years of dealing with sexual harassment at work, Ariana Donovan, a model based in Regina, created an online whisper network for others with similar experiences. As stories of sexual harassment and violence mounted with the private Facebook group, Donovan says she realized more needed to be done. She is one of several women who have lobbied the Saskatchewan Party government to include sexual harassment in the province’s employment act.

In November, the government proposed to do just that by introducing legislation to make it clear that any unwelcome action of a sexual nature constitutes harassment. It will cover independent contractors, students and volunteers, as well as Uber drivers, musicians, models, and those in performing arts. If passed, Saskatchewan would become one of five provinces (with Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) to specifically reference sexual harassment in legislation.

Theresa Sokyrka, a singer-songwriter based in Saskatoon, started a petition to advocate for the labour law changes. While Donovan and Sokyrka are happy changes are coming in Saskatchewan, they want the legislation to do more. They want “sexual violence” included in its language and a promise of mental health supports for survivors. Read more…

Ways to Give to SSAIC

Looking for ways to give to SSAIC? Click any of the options below to get started!

  • Becoming a recurring donor. This is the most helpful kind of donation we can receive, as it helps us consistently plan for the future with reliable donations monthly or annually. All donations are greatly appreciated.
  • Bring your recyclables to SARCAN. By using the code “I believe you” at the Drop-n-Go stations or at the register, you can donate your recycling funds straight to SSAIC and protect the environment all at once!
  • Shop our survivor-themed merchandise. Our online store is stocked with survivor phrase t-shirts, sweatshirts, and mugs – order yours straight to your door, or come by our office downtown for contactless pickup.
  • Fundraise on our behalf. COVID-19 has impacted us all, and SSAIC is relying on our community supporters now more than ever. If you’re interested in raising money on our behalf, get in contact with our office to discuss opportunities!

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